"Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come." -- Herman Melville
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March 02, 2004
Academy Awards Wrap-Up
Well, another Oscar ceremony has passed and there actually isn't too much more to say. Return of the King pulled off an astounding 11 for 11 run, tying Titanic and Ben Hur in total Oscars (more trivia, the closest any other films have come to such a large clean sweep are The Last Emperor and Gigi, which went 9 for 9). The biggest surprise of the night, for me, was Return of the King pulling off Best Adapted Screenplay, which I figured would be its biggest obstacle to going undefeated. That would have been a perfect award to toss as a consolation prize to Mystic River or even American Splendor or Seabiscuit, but I guess the Academy was ready to reward Jackson this year and reward him they did. I'm not complaining, though, since Return of the King is a fantastic film that deserved all those Oscars. It made for a relatively boring ceremony, though. Oh, and for those keeping track at home, I went 8 for 10 in my Oscar picks. Not too bad, not too bad. If you missed the ceremony, though, I'm here to provide a running diary of the revelry. Enjoy!
After picking up dinner I start watching the Pre-Show. I would have watched E!'s coverage, but Joan Rivers makes me want to indulge my homicidal tendencies, so I stayed away this year. Here, Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts are just arriving. Heath is unshaven and wearing obnoxiously large sunglasses, conveying "I know my girlfriend is much more successful than I am, but I'm still going to try to act like I'm too cool to be seen here with her. Fuck this Oscars shit."
The show begins with the opening montage where Billy Crystal jumps from movie to movie featuring special effects that looked cooler ten years ago when they first started doing this. Jack comes in at the end, though, fulfilling my requirement for smug, half-drunk shots of Jack in sunglasses. The show could end now and be up in my book.
Phew, that montage is over...oh God, what's that music doing there? Oh no, he's singing now?? Also, kudos to the show's director for making sure to cut to Tim Robbins at the first Bush joke.
Okay, I want to know: who decided that the Allstate commercials with the hands moving about and the soothing narration weren't good enough any more? Now, we've got static shots of an intimidating guy with a deep voice intoning about our need for protection in case of an accident. Could Allstate not find a middle ground between scary and happy? If not, why can't both sets of ads be running now? Is there some other demographic they're trying to reach with that guy scaring me into wanting Allstate? I'd like someone to explain this to me.
Catherine Zeta-Jones presents Best Supporting Actor to Tim Robbins, who, upon reaching the stage, begins burning an American flag, covering his face in war paint, and screaming "Death to Bush and the Imperialists!!! Ayyayayayay!!" Before being escorted off stage, he says he wants to present the award for Best Supporting Dress to his wife because, damn, Susan Sarandon's cleavage just seems to keep getting better and better every year, doesn't it?
Angelina Jolie comes out to present something. I don't care what award or have a joke, but Christ she looks hot.
Robin Williams comes out to do Robin Williams Things, which were much funnier 25 years ago when he was jacked up on spectacular amounts of coke.
Chris Cooper presents Supporting Actress to Renee Zellweger. Also in contention is Marcia Gay Hardin, who looks like she just came from auditioning for Whale Rider 2 (oooh, look at me being all edgy poking fun at a pregnant woman--I'm going to Hell for that one).
"The President's here?!? What? Tom Hanks? What's going on? He doesn't seem to know either. Hell, I wish Tom Hanks were President. Anybody but Bush--God, I hate him. I HATE HIM! Dammit, now I don't know what's going on."
"Bob Hope isn't dead yet?? He's got to be 100 now. I'm confused."
"Oh, Bob Hope IS dead. Why the misleading shots of an old guy waving in the audience? Oh, that was him some other year? The theatre always looks the same--how am I supposed to tell this year from any of the past 50? Stupid Oscars."
Liv Tyler puts on her glasses to introduce one of the Best Song nominees. She repeats this every time until I'm irrationally yelling "Leave your goddamn glasses on! How hard is that?!"
Jim Carrey comes out to make Jim Carrey Noises, which were much funnier in In Living Color and The Mask before those eight figure paychecks started rolling in. Between him and Robin Williams, I feel like we're getting an impromptu master lecture on speaking in tongues.
Whoa! Annie Hall is here tonight! Oh wait, Diane Keaton's not supposed to be in character? Is she trying to trick the space-time continuum into thinking it's 1978 again and she wins Best Actress? Suddenly, I have an idea for an awesome science-fiction movie.
John Travolta and Sandra Bullock stumble their way through a pre-scripted-supposed-to-be-spontaneous bit. Gee, with chemistry and comic timing like that, it's a wonder neither of them has made a good movie this century.
All right, so Jason Biggs is doing Diet Pepsi ads now? Has it really come to this? He just did a Woody Allen movie, probably made some decent cash in American Pie 3: The Search for More Money, and is about to be seen in Kevin Smith's new movie. Perfect time to start shilling a wussy soda! Then again, I guess all bets were off once Reba and LeAnn Rimes started singing about Dr. Pepper. I'd ask if any of these people had any shame, but I just saw Lassie kickboxing and Dorothy talking to M&Ms, so I think I'm going to go set myself on fire.
The Best Documentary Oscar continues its transformation into Best Anti-Bush Anti-Republican Film That Will Preach to the Choir. (calming myself to prevent another Bush diatribe)
After a couple of jokes by Billy Crystal about how boring and bad the speech by the Academy President always is, Frank Pierson comes on stage and promptly messes up his lines and confuses himself, prompting me to scream, "Recognizing and joking about a problem doesn't preclude you from actually having to solve it--WHY IS HE ON THE STAGE!"
Phil Collins, looking like the bastard son of Bob Hoskins and Mr. Peanut, comes out with Sting to present the Best Score Oscar.
Highlight of the night: Jack Black and Will Ferrell come out and sing the lyrics to the music the bandleader plays to shoo people off the stage. Genius. Okay, now I think it's going to be called the Jack Rule: Jack Nicholson and Jack Black must make appearances in every award show. Period. I think I would have support to put this into law.
Francis Ford and Sofia Coppola come out to present Best Adapted Screenplay and set up the most cringeworthy joke of the night: Francis turns his daughter and says, "I always knew one day you'd join the family business." There are jokes that just flop and there are jokes that make you feel bad for the tellers because they're so labored and groanworthy. No doubt about this one.
Three hours into the proceedings, the interesting awards are finally being presented. Oscar pulls out the big guns: Tom Cruise presenting Best Director and Steven Spielberg for Best Picture. I was really hoping for a Mel Gibson surprise appearance where he'd walk on stage, swim in a bath of money, and flip off the crowd, saying "Take that, Jew-run industry!"
It's officially March, meaning the Oscars this year spanned two months. No major upsets, no big shockers (not that we would have known--thank you five-second delay), no reason why I shouldn't be sleeping already, no big ending to this diary.